Stock Number: 4867
The Mitsubishi Pajero may just be the best kept 4WD secret to ever come out of Japan. Why you may ask? This robust, reliable, rugged SUV may not spark immediate thoughts of being an off-road adventure superstar, however, it’s what’s underneath that counts. The Pajero was designed with the Dakar rally in mind and the results don’t lie, winning the rally 12 times! From the advanced 4WD system, which allows the driver to select multiple combinations on the fly (up to 60 mph), to the well-engineered suspension the unassuming exterior is hiding a superior performing off-road machine. This one being the short-wheelbase two-door only makes it that much more capable. Aside from its off-road practicality, they look unlike anything else on the road today. The monster steel bumper and oversized fogs give off an imposing view in someone’s rearview, the way a proper SUV should. The Venus Red (R57) paint is a killer choice and not something we see very often. It pairs up perfectly with the black bumper and oversized fender flairs Those flairs are necessary to fit that new 33×12.5 Off-Road rubber wrapped around simple 5 spoke 15s. The polished ladder rack outback matches the polished wheels and adds a bit of flair to the back end. The body itself looks great and as if it really hasn’t spent much time off the beaten track. There are always going to be a few little door dings and things of that nature, but nothing out of the ordinary.
The Pajero’s interior is rather purpose-built, eliminating all of the unnecessary bells and whistles in the name of efficiency. For instance, you’ve got crank windows and manual mirrors in lieu of power ones as it’s one less thing to break down the road. The textured gray cloth they used for the seats is as comfortable as it is durable. For being such a light color it’s impressive that there are no real stains or marks to report. The driver’s side bolstering does have a little bit of wear from climbing in and out of this one, but that’s really about the worst of it. There are no seam separations, tears, or holes which would be a much bigger issue on both the front and rear rows. The back row is a 50/50 split that lays down flat so you can nearly double the cargo capacity when you’re not hauling around others. The dash is also in good shape and lacks any major cracking or distortion from sun damage over the years. As you can spot in the photos the radio was pulled, however, it wouldn’t have had too much use here stateside, to begin with. The door speakers appear to be pretty new, so you should be good by simply adding in a new headunit. This one even has the mechanical climate control system, unlike the digital ones that have a tendency for the displays to go out. The driver has a great command of the road from the cockpit from the raised driving position, and lots of side glass and smaller pillars make this hauler easy to see out of. The headroom is abundant, and the headliner is free of any sags or major damage.
Under the hood, the bruty 4D56 2.5L four-banger fires up immediately with the aid of a new 12V battery. With only 84K verified miles, the motor is only just now getting broken in. These go anywhere and go forever engines have been happily serving their owners with trouble free ownership since their introduction. They are overbuilt and can take a beating. While it’s not going to be winning any drag races, the 4D56 has proven itself to be one bulletproof setup which is what you want when you’re out wheeling. The engine is bolted to a 5-speed manual transmission which is also bulletproof and overbuilt. It shifts smoothly, and happily runs through the gears. The “Super Select” 4WD system was quite advanced for the ’90s featuring on the fly select-ability between 2WD, 4WD High, 4WD High with mechanical locking hubs. All of these options can be selected at speeds up to 62 MPH. The steering and suspension all feel good, and this behemoth cruises over road imperfections without batting an eye thanks to those beefy 35s. Of course, we’ve gone over this one back in the shop to make sure it’s turn-key for its next adventure. Aside from those massive tires and new battery, it’s got a fresh air filter and all new shocks. The steering and suspension all feel good now, though it does still drive like a lifted truck. With big off-road tires and a short wheelbase, this isn’t your typical Montero type of drive. In our book that makes it even better, but to each their own. The enthusiasts will tell you, there are very few real off readers nowadays. Even so, they are laden with computers, infotainment systems, and cameras. The Pajero offers old-school, tried and true mechanicals and a bulletproof diesel power plant. For those who wish to take the road less traveled, this the Japanese Classic to get you there.